I get a lot of great feedback and questions from readers (which I love to get!) and so I wanted to compile a list of the most Frequently Asked Questions. I will continue to update this post as I get more information, and please do not hesitate to tell me if any of the information I posted is incorrect!
What was your experience like with HCPC and what information did you provide?
I have written a blog post specific to my experience with HCPC entitled “Registration with HCPC” which outlines my experience and what information I provided. You should provide any and all information, which combined, shows how you have met the Standards of Proficiency outlined for Social Work that is listed on their website. Many of the SoP’s were satisfied with the Bachelor of Social Work course outlines I provided.
Would HCPC accept someone with a Bachelor of Social Work degree or someone who is finishing up their degree in Bachelor of Social Work?
To my knowledge, a student who is in the process of obtaining their Bachelor of Social Work degree cannot apply for HCPC. You do not need a Master of Social Work to register. A Bachelor of Social Work should be sufficient, provided you can meet the Standards of Proficiency for Social Work.
Should I apply to HCPC once I have been offered employment?
If you definitely know that you want to move to the UK and have the financial funds to do so, then don’t wait. It is up to the employer whether they are willing to wait the 4+ months it can take to register and also go through sponsorship and visa process. I say the more you have prepared, the better position you are in.
What is the job market like for Social Workers in the UK? Are there only jobs in Child Protection?
There are many jobs all over the UK for social workers; it’s just a matter of whether you have the skills and qualifications for the job and the appropriate visa. If you are applying under the Tier 2 Visa, it is limited to social work jobs in a “Children and Families setting”, so I solely focused on the area of Child Protection. I never explored what “Children and Families” entails other than Child Protection. But I have noticed many jobs in Mental Health and Adult Care. If you are applying under the Tier 5 visa, then you can work whatever job you like and recruiters can assist you in this aspect.
Which visa did you have when you were in the UK and applying for jobs?
I went to UK as a regular tourist where I could stay for a maximum of 6 months. I have shared my experience with the Immigrations officer at Heathrow airport upon my arrival in the blog post entitled “My Lovely Experience with Immigrations”. I had to return back to Canada to apply for Tier 2 when I got a job. You cannot switch from one visa to another while you are in the UK. You have to go back to your home country. I did not qualify for the Tier 5 because I am past the age limit for it.
Please refer to the UKBA website for accurate and up to date information on visa requirements.
The job applications ask if I am eligible to work in UK? I need a visa and sponsorship…how should I answer this?
I always checked that I was eligible to work in the UK…because I was…even though I needed a visa and to be sponsored. Usually the application does ask if you need a visa and/or need to be sponsored. Even if it doesn’t ask, I would write it somewhere in the application.
Can I volunteer while I am visiting the UK?
No, legally you are not allowed to volunteer if you are visiting the UK as a regular tourist/visitor. When I explored this, various organizations wanted to check my status in the UK. You are not even allowed to babysit, but people still do it.
Do I have to go to the UK and apply for jobs? Are employers willing to interview via Skype?
I never explored this option, but I am sure that some employers would be willing to do this.
How did you arrange for accommodations when you got to the UK?
My SO is a British citizen and resides in the UK. So I did not have to arrange any accommodations for myself.
The UK is so big, how did you choose where you wanted to work and live?
Since I would be living with my SO, who was already established, I chose to work close to where we would live-near South London. Do you want the busy city life or the countryside life? Look at the cost of living of various areas. How long would your commute time be? London is your best bet if you don’t want to get a car for your job. Every other area will require use of car. There are many LA’s who are familiar with the sponsorship process and are willing to sponsor. Look at OFSTED reports on the various LA’s to see how they are performing.
How do I contact Local Authorities?
Every local authority/borough has a website with a job section. If you google London Boroughs, you will get a list of all the boroughs in London and then you can search each borough website. Many job posts will have phone numbers of managers that you can talk to about the position.
What were the interview questions and what did you study?
I have shared my interview experience in my blog entitled “Post Interview Meanderings”. I was asked very typical interview questions regarding my experience with various situations. I did a lot of research and inquiring about the relevant legislation/procedures and reports important to social work to show that I was familiar with their lingo. I was not asked any specific questions about legislation. There are many websites that provide helpful information in preparing for interviews.
Were there any UK agencies that assisted you with the transition of moving to the UK?
No. I did everything on my own and it required a lot of hard work and motivation. Recruiters are only helpful with obtaining locum positions (which is great if you are working under the Tier 5 visa!) but they do not help with the visa. They were of no help to me and only told me to apply directly to Local Authorities. I did a lot of googling!
How did you use Social Media?
LinkedIn and Twitter allowed me the opportunity to connect with Social Workers in the UK, but Twitter was especially helpful in keeping on top of current issues that affect social work. I love my Twitter network! Please refer to my blog entry “Making Connections in the UK”.
Can you suggest any resources for moving and practicing Social Work in the UK?
Google really is your friend here. I took information from bits and pieces of various sites and started putting things together…don’t worry…it will eventually start to make more sense! There are many, many recruitment agencies for social work but I will not list them here because I do not want to promote any of them. You just have to start contacting them if that’s the route you want to take.
**Please note that I am only an expert of my own experience and the information I have provided is based on my own research and knowledge. Please contact the appropriate authority for verification**